Lawns and landscape plants need water to survive, just like you and me. Too much or too little water can harm plants, so it’s important to become familiar with your plants needs and, taking rain and temperature into account, devise a plan for your specific landscapes needs.

This may sound like a lot of work, and I’m not going to lie, getting started requires a bit of effort; but once you know what to do and when, watering your plants will become an easy task that is actually quite enjoyable.

So let’s have a little fun.

sprinklerTrue or false – sprinkler systems are a great way to water your lawn.
ANSWER: TRUE-iSH. Although sprinkler systems can be a great way to regularly water your lawn, the fact is the system must be programmed properly in order to work. More on this later.

True or false – Watering a little every day is best to keep the grass moist.
ANSWER: FALSE! Watering infrequently and deeply is best. Water no more than once or twice a week. This encourages a deeper root system, which is healthier for plants, including grass. Frequent sprinklings encourage shallow roots that struggle during stressful periods of drought or harsh winters.

True or false – Watering during the heat of the day is best.
ANSWER: FALSE! Because of evaporation, you will waste water if you water too frequently or if you water during the heat of the day. Watering early in the morning encourages foliage to dry before evening, avoiding the possibility of disease.

Natural cedar mulchTrue or false – Mulch helps with water conservation.
ANSWER: TRUE! Mulching helps to stabilize soil temperatures, reduces weeds that rob the soil of moisture, provides aesthetic value to the landscape and conserves moisture. 2” to 3” of organic mulch is all that’s needed. Avoid piling on the mulch, especially around the trunk or stems of plants. Stay a few inches away from the bark.

True or false – drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses can only be installed by a licensed professional.
ANSWER: FALSE! You can purchase drip irrigation systems as well as soaker hoses here at Hicks and install it yourself. It’s very easy.

Soaker hoses put water exactly where the plant needs it – at the root system by emitting water from tiny holes in the hose. Place a soaker hose in the garden and leave it there for the entire season. They can even be buried under mulch. Since soaker hoses do not wet the foliage of plants, they greatly reduce disease problems in the landscape and are more efficient than overhead-type irrigation systems.

Soaker HoseDrip irrigation systems place small amounts of water near the roots of plants over a long time period. Homeowners can install drip systems, sold as kits,
for vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, small ornamental gardens and container plantings. Just like soaker hoses, drip systems do not wet the foliage of plants, thereby reducing disease problems in the landscape.

So how much water do my plants need?
It’s best to water just before the plant really needs it. How much water do you apply? Set out a few shallow containers (tuna fish cans work great for this) on the lawn. Run the sprinkler or sprinkler system for one hour; measure the amount of water in the can. If you collected a half-inch of water, it will take 2–3 hours to apply the needed amount. As a general rule and if rainfall has not been adequate,

follow these calculations:

Lawns
1-1½” water per week

Established Trees & Shrubs
1-1½” water every 7 to 14 days

Vegetable & Flower Gardens
1-1½” water per week

**New plantings should be checked for water daily for the first 6 weeks (a month for summer plantings), then every other day thereafter for the first growing season. Keep in mind that this is only the frequency for checking moisture, NOT how often to actually water – too many factors come into play to follow a single watering schedule. Note: Consider natural rainfall in your calculations, too.

For additional information:

Watering the Right Way

Lawn Care Made Simple